Succesful integration of chicks in with the grown-ups! :)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Moxiechick, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Moxiechick

    Moxiechick Songster

    Jan 15, 2010
    By George, I think they've got it! My 12 week old chicks, Mischief and Magoo, are officially in with the the grown up birds. [​IMG]

    For the past few weeks, we've been keeping them in a small coop and run right next to the main run, where they could see each other. For the first week, we let the older birds free range in the evenings, but kept the little ones in their own run. Then last week, we started to let the chicks have supervised free range time with the others. They had already done a bit of feather flexing at each other through the bars, and that had calmed down. There was a little bit of chasing, but really not too bad. The biggest issue would arise when the little ones would spaz the moment a bigger bird even got close to them (usually just minding their own business, pecking in the grass), causing said spastic bird to run right into another chicken that they weren't even aware of! [​IMG]

    Of course, this did not endear the youngster to whoever got plowed, and would end up with either a pecking or brief chase. For the most part though, there was ample room for them to keep themselves out of trouble. Our roo, Merlin, went after them a bit, but it was hard to tell if he was being territorial or trying to "woo" the new faces about town. Given that we are almost positive that Mischief is a cockerel, we were a little concerned, but nothing too serious happened at all. He just gave a couple of short pecks to tell them who was in charge. At one point, when he kept starting towards them, we just stepped in between, and he seemed to know that was enough. By the third evening, he couldn't be bothered with them at all!

    After a few nights of this, things calmed down considerably, so we decided to bring the little ones into the adult run for some supervised run time with the big chickens. Things pretty much took the same course as they did the first evening of free ranging. We did supervised run visits for a few days, and then last night decided to sneak the kids into the coop while the adults were sleeping. It could have been a little darker, as Merlin woke up and came over to investigate. It was late enough though, that the kids were so sleepy that they settled right down on the roost without spazzing out (either that or they were too afraid to move, as Merlin was hovering like a vulture). Merlin stood over them and things were tense for a few moments until we realized that he had fallen asleep on his feet!

    Our run is very secure, so we decided to leave the big door on the coop open so the kids could make an easy get away in case they all woke up before the coop door opened in the morning, or in case the coop door were to be blocked by another chicken.

    When we went out this morning, all was well! [​IMG] The kids are still keeping their distance from the adults, but they are all getting along fine. When I went out this evening to see if they needed any encouragement to go into the coop, they were already roosting! I was so proud of all of them! [​IMG]

  2. EatMorSteak

    EatMorSteak In the Brooder

    May 28, 2011
    Very exciting!
  3. cluckiemama

    cluckiemama Chirping

    Mar 19, 2010
    thanks for the post and info. We have 8 Ameracaunas that hatched 5/1 - so we'll be introducing them later to the 3 one year old Barred Rock layers. I've been nervous about how things will go. I really don't want to have to keep them separate. [​IMG]
  4. clemston

    clemston In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2011
    Naples, FL
    I did this this week too-- it IS a great feeling! I've got 6 full-grown hens that are now (happily?) cohabitating with 3 11-week old chicks. I'd had them in a dog cage in the coop since Easter or so to get them used to seeing each other but keeping the babies safe. The chicks spend most of their time cowering in a nest box, but I know they'll get used to everybody else in time [​IMG]

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